Monday, June 15, 2009

Farm to Fork Picnic 2009

 

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“Hello. My name is Marlow. Will write for food.”

Today I was lucky enough to be a Foodie Correspondent for Foodbuzz at a local food event! The event was sponsored by our local Slow Food branch, Slow Food Triangle, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), and the Orange County Cooperative Extension. The event was the 2009 Farm to Fork Picnic; a celebration of local foods and the folks who provide them.

The picnic was held at W.C. Breeze Farm in the northern part of Orange County. The organizers cleared out an entire field, and I really was surprised by how many people were there. Although, I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m very lucky to be living in an area where local food is not only supported, but it’s almost obvious. Everyone shops the farmer’s market; all the restaurants use local, seasonal produce. It’s exactly why the Triangle was named Bon App├ętit magazine’s “Foodiest Small Town” in October last year.

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There were booths set up all along the outside of the field. Each table paired a different farm with a local chef. The chefs were chosen from all over the Triangle area of NC. As I looked down the list of chefs, I realized that these were not only the most fancy restaurants around, but I have them all on my “Let’s go there” list. There were 30 chef-farmer pairings; plus an entire section of Craft Food, where the exact person who made it served me.

There were many booths, that while they looked delicious, they weren’t gluten free friendly. But don’t feel sorry for me. I had plenty to fill me up!!

The first table I visited was a matching of Maple Spring Gardens and chef Justin Rakes from Four Square.

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It was a great way to start the day! Visually stunning and the perfect palate cleanser! It was not only fun to eat, but light and refreshing. It was the perfect first bite.

The next table was actually my favorite. It was a matching of Timberwood Organics and chef Jason Smith from 18 Seaboard.

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The absolute best!!! The shrimp was prepared perfectly!

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The sauce was light and refreshing. The bok choy was tender and tasty.

The next table was a matching of Four Leaf Farm and chef Kevin Callaghan of Acme Food and Beverage.

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Holy wood smoked! Most potato salads in NC are drenched in mayo, but not this offering! I was curious as to what the basil would bring about in the dish, but I barely noticed it. The buttery Yukon Gold potatoes paired perfectly with the onion and pickled fennel.

My other favorite table was a matching of Teikei Farm and Foster’s Market.

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Pickled everything!!

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This is the second time I’ve eaten pickled yellow squash. The first was a few years back and the squash was pickled with cumin. Today the squash was pickled with lime and basil. Fresh and delicious! I could eat these everyday!

After the first round of tables, I was feeling good. I had a glass of water and perused the next round. Most of them were not offering gluten free options, but they looked great! So I stopped by my last two savory tables.

The first of round two was a matching of Bluebird Meadows and chef Ricky Moore of Glasshalfull.

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Sweet and savory. A mix between a fresh juice and a tasty soup.

The last savory table was a matching of Fickle Creek Farm and chefs Rose Galvan, Silvia Pahola, and Miguel Torres from Lantern.

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The corn that was used to make these tortillas is an old-variety corn that hasn’t been grown in NC since the 1940’s. They were making them fresh at the table, and the taste was amazing. It definitely gave me the motivation I needed to try to make my own corn tortillas at home!

Then it was time for dessert!!!

The kids at Durham’s Inner City Garden SEEDS prepared a delicious Lemon Balm Sorbet.

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An incredible homemade ice cream by duo Peregrine Farm and Sage & Swift!!

(sans cone of course!)

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Peregrine Farm also grows cut flowers. Gorgeous!

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Even though I had to skip some tables because the items were already on a lovely piece of homemade bread, I had SO much fun!! I will definitely attend this picnic again next year. And I now I have at least 10 more restaurants to add to my “Let’s go there” list! Thank you so much Foodbuzz!!!

Want info about your own local food economy? Check out your local Slow Food chapter or Local Harvest!

7 comments:

MoonGoddess said...

Again I have to say your pictures are divine lady! Looks like you had a blast.

Katrina said...

It looks like you had a GREAT time! Was it scary as a GF diner? Was cross contamination a major concern?

Marlow said...

Actually, cross contamination was a concern. Luckily the chef who prepared it was at each table. It was great to have a conversation about gluten free with the actual person in charge of the kitchen. I ended up feeling even more sure about eating at their restaurants!

Meg said...

What an exciting experience! Thanks for sharing!

Just a reminder to update your RSS for my new site:
http://megansmunchies.com/

Liz said...

Oh my Gosh, I wish I lived near there. What an awesome experience! Thanks for sharing -- it's got my brain cranking on some recipes.

Amber said...

Wow, Marlow it all looks fantastic! Thanks for posting such thorough info. Great pics too!

Justin said...

Thanks for the great post about Farm to Fork, it was a blast to participate. We would be happy to make you a special gluten free dinner if ever want to come to Four Square.
J